We New Englanders are a hardy bunch. When it comes to winter hazards, we tend to take things as they come. This winter has been different because of COVID-19, and it has certainly come in like a lamb, but if you have not already prepared your home for winter, there is still time to take precautions to keep you, your family, and your guests safer this winter and reduce liability issues:
- Make sure your steps, porch, and front walk are in good shape; repair loose bricks, slabs or boards.
- Make sure outside lights work. If they are on timers, adjust the timers to coincide with sunset.
- Check shovels to be sure they are in good working order.
- Make sure you have rock salt on hand. We have been fortunate so far this winter as temperatures have been warmer than usual, but freezing temperatures are sure to come.
- Secure outside furniture and other objects that you do not store inside.
- Remove window air conditioners and cover outdoor air conditioning units.
- Seal around windows and doors to eliminate drafts.
- Check your roof to make sure all shingles are in good shape and firmly in place. Consider purchasing a roof rake. Heavy, wet snows—common in the South Coast area—can cause roof collapses.
- Clear leaves and debris away from vents and trim back shrubs; you’ll need access to vents later to clear snow away from them.
- Make sure fuel-burning appliances, such as hot water heaters and gas dryers, are properly sealed and ventilated.
- Have your furnace and chimney professionally inspected.
- Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to be sure they are in working order; if you haven’t changed the batteries in a while, do it now.
- Have you recently moved? Check local laws regarding your snow removal responsibilities. If you learn that you are required to shovel a sidewalk in front of your home, for instance, you might be inclined to hire someone to shovel for you.
- If you hire someone to plow your driveway, or shovel your walk, be sure they will be available all winter. Check references (if they are a new hire) and ask for your contract now and review it to make sure that liability is not transferred from the plow driver to you.
Paul & Dixon is here to help!
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